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Do you want to start a betel leaf cultivation business? If yes, find here a detailed guide to start betel leaf cultivation at your backyard or polyhouse.
Betelvine, commonly known as Pan is a perennial, dioecious, evergreen creeper, cultivated in moist, tropical and sub-tropical regions of India. Botanical name of betel vine is Piper betel. The commercial product is the leaf, mainly used for chewing with Arecanut, slaked lime, tobacco, and some other ingredients. Bangladesh, Myanmar, Indonesia, Pakistan, Thailand, India, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and other parts of South Asia and South-east Asian countries are the major producers of it. Betelvine cultivation is profitable and the product has the export demand also.
Here is a Stepwise Guide to Start Betel Leaf Cultivation Business
The leaves of this plant have a higher economic and medicinal value but from ancient times it has been mostly used for chewing purposes and ceremonial events along with other condiments. This chewing combination in the form of a betel quid could be varied with different ingredients from country to country.
Several value-added products from betel have been formulated and those include betel toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoo, face cream, instant betel quid, and pellets. It is an important cash crop of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.
Why Is Betelvine Cultivation Profitable?
- Betelvine is particularly suited to small holdings. With a small piece of land, one can initiate betel vine cultivation business.
- Once established, a betel vine garden becomes a potential source of income for the farm owners.
- You can keep betel leaf on the vine for up to 2 to 5 months. It does not have to be harvested and sold out at a time like other perishable cash crops.
- You can pick only marketable leaves according to the current need.
Agro-Climatic Condition For Betelvine Cultivation
Betelvine is cultivated in two systems, the closed type, and open type systems. In the closed type system, it is cultivated is a conservatory, locally known as Boroj, Bareja or Bheet. In the open system, it is cultivated in a cool shady ecosystem on live standards with adequate soil moisture. Tropical climate, high rainfall, and a shady place are best for its vigorous growth.
Betel vine thrives best under the humid tropical condition with cool shade. It flourishes in areas with a rainfall of 225 to 475 cm. Where such conditions are not available, an artificial structure is created to grow the crop. Otherwise, high temperature and hot winds would burn the tender tips and leaves of the vines affecting their growth and production.
Health Benefits Of Betel Leaf
- Chewing betel leaves improve digestion.
- It prevents carcinogenesis in the oral cavity.
- Betel leaf helps to maintain good oral hygiene
- Extracts of betel leaves are known to have gastroprotective activity and help in preventing gastric ulcers.
- Extracts of betel leaves are known to control blood sugar levels and have an effective anti-diabetic property
- Betel leaf is also known to have analgesic properties and hence applying it over the affected area is known to effectively reduce a headache.
- talk of betel leaves dipped in castor oil, when introduced into the rectum, effectively relieves constipation.
Best Varieties For Betelvine Cultivation
Based on shape, size, brittleness, and taste of leaf blade, betel vine is classified into pungent and non-pungent varieties. A Large number of local betel accessions are grown in Sri Lanka. Among them “Maneru”, “Ratadalu” and “Galdalu” are popular betel varieties with high export quality. Some of the popular varieties that are cultivated state wise are following
Andhra Pradesh: Karapaku, Chennoor, Tellaku bangla Khasi, Assamiya, bangla, Awani, garo, Karbi and Naga Pan.
Bihar: Deshi, Calcutta Bangla, Maghai, Kapoori
Karnataka: Kariyale, Mysoreale, Ambadiale or Ambadi Badami Nadan, Nandan, Kalkodi, Puthukodi, Thulasi, Venmani
Madhya Pradesh: Desawari, Deshi Bangla, Calcutta Bangla
Maharashtra: Kalipatti, Kapoori, Ramtek, Bangla
Orissa: Godi Bangla, Naua Bangla, Deshi Pan, Alupatria, Jaganathi
Tamil Nadu: Pachaikodi, Vellaikodi, Kapoori, SB 35
Uttar Pradesh: Desawari, Kapoori, Maghai, Mahoba Bangla
West Bengal: Mitha, Sanchi, Deshi Bangla, Kali Bangla, Ghanagete Bangla, Simurali, Bhavna, Birkuli
Suitable Soil For Betelvine Cultivation
Soil with good organic matter and drainage system is best suited for betel vine growth. However, it can be grown on different types of soils such as heavy clayey loam, laterite, and sandy loam soils. Exceptionally, well-drained and fertile soils, rich in organic matter, with loam, clay-loam or sandy-loam texture are best suited for the cultivation of betel vine.
However, this crop has wide adaptation, red loam soils both light and heavy with good soil depth and even sandy soils are also considered suitable for this crop, provided assured irrigation facilities are available. The crop prefers a soil PH ranging from 7.0 to 8.2. Soils with lower PH may be adjusted using the required amount of lime at the time of soil preparation.
Types Of Betalvine Cultivation Practice
Generally, there are two different types of practices for betel vine cultivation. One is the closed type, and another is open type systems.
Closed Type System: Micro-climate plays an important role for better quality and production of betel leaves. Areas where the climate is not suitable for natural cultivation, cultivation is done in an artificially created controlled condition. In other words, the ideal conditions are provided by artificial means under thatched cover, popularly known as Boroj or Bareja ( betel vineyard).
Open Type System: The open type system is generally practiced in South Indian states. In this system, betel vine cultivation is done by raising of live standards which provide support as well as shade.
Betelvine Leaf Cultivation Basic Steps
1. Construction Of Boroj or Conservatory
Borojs are normally made on high-level land. There must be a slope in all directions for quick drainage of excess water. These type of structures are constructed with locally available materials such as bamboo, jute sticks, straw, reeds etc. The shape of the boroj may be square or rectangular with a height of about 2 to 2.5 m.
2. Land Preparation
You must prepare the soil well by 4–5 ploughings and land should be raised by 5–10cm from the adjacent areas, providing proper gradient on both sides for quick drainage. Before use, the soil must be pasteurized by solarization technique.
40,000–75,000 cuttings are used for a hectare under open system of cultivation whereas 1,00,000–1,20,000 cuttings/ha are sufficient in bareja (closed) system of cultivation. The onset of monsoon is the ideal time of planting under the closed system of cultivation. The planting is done in rows.
Generally, most of the betel vine farmers apply a very heavy quantity of organic manures, particularly in the form of mustard cake. Oilcake is applied near the roots in small to moderate quantities at a time. However, it is applied in a number of splits in quick succession, particularly during the rains. Inorganic or chemical fertilizers are rarely used.
Betelvine requires high soil moisture. It needs moist soil, neither too wet nor too dry. The soil of the Boroj is constantly kept moist avoiding over-watering or water stagnation. Frequent light irrigation is necessary depending upon the season. Irrigation should be need-based. Flood irrigation should be avoided.
6. Intercultural Operation
within a month’s time of planting the cutting start sprouting and creep. Jute sticks, bamboo sticks are placed by the side of the creepers as support and fastened with kush grass to facilitate climbing. The stems which accumulate at ground level are sometimes covered with soil or allowed to remain coiled on the ground between the rows and sticks.
Harvesting & Productivity Of Betelvine Cultivation
There is no fixed harvesting time for betel leaves. As vines reach a certain height, leaves are harvested from the lower portion of the stem. The growers usually harvest the leaves according to the demand of the market. The betel leaves are plucked by hand without any aid.
The leaves when sufficiently mature are plucked along with the petioles. After plucking, they are washed thoroughly and made into bundles according to the prevailing custom of the area. On an average, 60–80 lakh leaves are harvested annually from the one-hectare plantation. Obviously, good leaves fetch a higher price, though other leaves which get damaged, diseased or deformed are also plucked. These are disposed of after trimming at a cheaper rate.
Storage & Market Opportunity For Betelvine Cultivation
Harvested leaves are washed, cleaned and then graded according to size and quality. The leaves are then packed after cutting a portion of the petiole and rejecting the damaged leaves. Depending upon the market, the picked leaves are sorted into different grades according to size, colour, texture and maturity. After grading the leaves are arranged in number for packing. Bamboo baskets are generally used for packing.
Betel leaves are generally sold in the local market. Apart from domestic demand, there is export potential too. Leaves exported are often processed through bleaching and smoking to increase their keeping quality. Processing changes the colours of the leaves and makes the leaves softer and less pungent.
With an exception of the first year, betel vine cultivation is highly remunerative. Betelvine cultivation may become a highly profitable enterprise in areas of small land holdings also.